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14.10.2005 General News

Let's recreate patriotism - Panellists

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Accra, Oct. 14, GNA - Panellists at the just ended 12th series of the William Ofori-Atta Memorial Lectures have emphasized the need for patriotism to be recreated in Ghana to ensure love and readiness to die for the country and respect for fellow Ghanaians. Dr. Stephen Addei, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), took the lead in calling for the recreation of patriotism, saying that patriotism was not gone forever. It could be recreated when our government has a concrete vision towards restoring patriotism in our people.

He said there were several Ghanaian experts and professionals living and working overseas with a yearning to return and serve their country but past and present governments do not seem to have a clear vision as to how to re-integrate these experts into the economy. "I believe that if we get 50 Ghanaians of influence to take the challenge of recreating patriotism in Ghana, we will soon get back to the early days of our independence when there was 100 per cent patriotism in Ghana," he said.

Dr. Addei repeated that "leadership is cause and others are effect", saying that the recreation of patriotism must necessarily begin from the top.

Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), repeated his earlier call for government to pay workers real wages, saying, "you can't expect people to be patriots, ready to defend and die for their country when you do not reward them adequately for their work."

Mr Yaw Buadu Ayeboafo, Editor of the Graphic newspaper, said the recreation of patriotism could only be effective if Ghanaians became independent in their thinking.

He explained that most Ghanaians today allowed statements by politicians, media people and disgruntled individuals to determine the way they thought and that was not good for the country. Professor Irene Odotei, Head of the History Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, said the recreation of patriotism should begin with the children of today.

She noted that children were not too young to be impacted with patriotic teachings, saying that she used to be Mr Ofori-Atta's next door neighbour and he used to talk to her five-year-old son about politics, patriotism and those teachings guided the little boy in the way he viewed things.

Prof. Odotei, however, posed the question that in the face of globalization and supra-national states such as the various economic blocks being built around the world, how could we recreate patriotism, which demands some nationalism based on the principles of nation-states. Professor Emeritus J. H. Kwabena Nketia said we could not recreate patriotism without going back to the good aspects of our traditions and culture to ensure that they stayed with us.

He said love for the country was enshrined in the several proverbs and oral traditions of our forefathers and we could not do away with them if we wanted to recreate patriotism.

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